Réway is looking forward to Šatan and Nagy in the national team
The QMJHL season of the best Slovak junior player of this season might be over after Friday’s 1:4 loss to Halifax, which resulted in the Gatineau Olympiques being eliminated from the play-offs. However, summer is still far away for Martin Réway. The best player on the Slovak team from the junior world championship will try to get a place in the senior one, after he received an invitation to join the Slovak national team preparation camp before the World Championship in Belarus.
Réway spent his second season with the Gatineau Olympiques and he showed big improvement from his first year with the club. The Montréal Canadiens draft pick from last summer (4th round, 116. Overall) notched 62 points (20+42) in 43 games in the regular season, to which he added 15 points (5+10) in nine play-off games. The Halifax Mooseheads, with the third overall pick Jonathan Drouin in the line-up, proved to be too much of a test for the Olympiques, though.
One of Réway’s options after the conclusion of his junior season was an amateur tryout with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL, Montréal’s affiliate. However, the Bulldogs were eliminated from play-off contention and only have two games left in their regular season, which ends on Saturday. Therefore, the 19-year old center will travel home to Slovakia to take part in the pre-tournament camp of the Slovak national team, which will prepare for the World Championship.
During his first steps with the Canadiens organization, Martin Réway managed to get invited to the main training camp and even appeared in a pre-season game against Buffalo.
(Photo: Getty Images/nhl.com)
In the case of Réway making it to the national team for the World Championship, he would become a member of a pretty exclusive club. For some reason, Slovakia isn’t used to inviting high-profile juniors to events like this, unlike other European countries. Playing in the World Championship while still being classified as a junior was only done by 8 Slovak players: Marko Daňo (2013), Richard Pánik, Tomáš Tatar (2010), goalie Branislav Konrád (2007), Andrej Meszároš (2004), Marián Gáborík (2001), Marián Hossa (1997) a Ľubomír Višňovský (1996). With the exception of Daňo, who should be on his way, and Konrád, all of these players have reached the NHL, mostly with significant success.
We spoke to Martin Réway about his recent play-off experience, the national team and a look towards next season:
You got eliminated with Gatineau in the second round for the second straight year. How do you feel right afterwards?
It’s a huge shame. I expected it to be more tight, but I have to say they advanced deservedly. We regret it, as we hoped to go as far as possible.
Just like last year, you were knocked out by Halifax. How would you compare the two series?
Martin Réway notched 62 points (20+42) in 43 games during his second season in the QMJHL with the Gatineau Olympiques. He added 15 points (5+10) in nine play-off games.
(Photo: private archive)
Last year, they had a truly unbelievable team that steamrolled everyone. Our team was better this year, but still, their key players played better than ours.
After getting 11 points in the first round against Cape Breton, you only had 4 points against Halifax, as a team you only scored 10 goals. Was the quality difference that big?
Of course, it was a much different opponent than Cape Breton, for example, they scored like 12 times on the power play alone, and we kept getting six or seven penalties per game... we couldn’t learn from our mistakes and we paid for it. Halifax destroyed us, they controlled the game and were unbelievably effective. Even if we managed to get some pressure, they scored from almost everything. I expected more from myself, I hoped I could help the team advance further, I had believed that I could.
Which game in the Halifax series was the turning point?
It has to be the fourth game, which we lost at home. If we had tied the series there, it would have been much different, they wouldn’t have had so much confidence.
Jonathan Drouin had 14 points in 5 games, was he their biggest weapon?
For sure, he’s an unbelievable player with a very bright future. The QMJHL is too small for him, a player shouldn’t get 3 points per game. We didn’t finish our checks on him, so he played even better.
Your opponent scored 13 powerplay goals, three in the first game (1:4) with one coming in shorthanded. Overall, they scored 13 times out of 33 opportunities, compared to your 4 goals on 23 powerplays. Did they prepare for this situation better?
Their powerplay was really unbelievable, in every one of them they managed to get at least two or three scoring chances. Ours wasn’t bad either, but we couldn’t score and hockey is played on goals.
After the conclusion of your QMJHL season, you’re heading to the Slovak national team camp. How did this idea come to life?
Being alongside players like Miroslav Šatan or Ladislav Nagy in practices or games, I can learn something new every day.
About getting invited to the Slovak national team camp
I was contacted by Mr. Vujtek and Mr. Sýkora (coach and GM of the national team), who asked me how i’m feeling and whether i’d like to take part. I’m very happy to go there, it’s a huge experience. Being alongside players like Miroslav Šatan or Ladislav Nagy in practices or games, I can learn something new every day.
You basically played one game at the pro level, it was for Montreal during the pre-season against Buffalo. Aren’t you afraid of the competition at this level?
I actually played several pre-season games for Sparta Prague and some games for the U20 team in the Slovak extraleague. Of course, it’s something different, but it had to come someday, I can’t play junior hockey all life. I’m looking forward to it.
Didn’t Montreal prefer seeing you go to their AHL affiliate in Hamilton on an ATO? Did they stay in touch during the play-offs and support you in your decision to join the national team?
Martin Réway has two World Junior Championships under his belt. After Christmas, he can add a third one in Montreal. In Ufa, he notched two assists in six games. Most recently in Malmö, he became the fifth most productive player of the tournament with four goals and six assists in five games.
(Photo: Jakub Homoľa)
Something was talked about, but the decision wasn’t just mine. An opinion from Montreal was also involved and they allowed me to join the national team, for which i’m thankful.
How do you see your next season, which should be your last junior year? Are you coming back to Gatineau?
My future will concern me in the summer, right now i’m only focused on the national team, so I play my best and stay there as long as I can. Playing at the World Championship would be a cherry on top of a great season.
You can’t play for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the AHL yet, your other options include Sparta Prague as your first club, Slovan Bratislava, who owns your rights in the KHL, and coming back to Gatineau. Which option suits you best?
I’m going to do everything I can to play in Montreal, I obviously want to play pro hockey, that’s for sure. But ultimately, Montreal has the final say.
Martin Réway’s 2013/14 highlights from the QMJHL